Rape accused cleared on one count – hung jury discharged on second

James Mann appeared on video link from jail at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

James Mann appeared on video link from jail at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

An Essex docker has been cleared on one count of raping a woman – but could be retried on a second count after jurors were unable to reach a majority verdict.

Joe Jordan faced two charges of raping a woman in his Ford Mondeo after offering to take her home on July 17 last year.

The 24-year-old denied both offences at Ipswich Crown Court, where a jury of eight women and four men took eight hours and 14 minutes to reach a not guilty majority verdict for one count of rape on Friday – but were unable to reach a decision on the second count and were discharged.

Jordan, of Main Road, Harwich, will know next Wednesday if he faces a retrial for the other count.

Giving evidence during his trial, he denied raping the woman and said it was she who initiated the sex that took place – at no time indicating she did not consent.

Jordan said he saw the woman walking along the road and stopped to see if she was alright.

He said the woman got into his car after declining a lift from another passing female motorist.

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While he was driving, said Jordan, the woman had swung her legs on his lap and touched his trousers. He said she performed a sex act on him and had then asked him to have sex with her.

Jordan said he drove the woman home after having sex, and that she kissed him and said she loved him, before he helped her from the car and she sat on the pavement.

Lesley Bates, prosecuting, had claimed the woman was incapable of consenting because of her level of intoxication, which tests showed was four-and-a-half times the limit for driving.

But Jordan said she had only been “a bit drunk” and had no difficulty communicating.

The court heard that witnesses saw a Mondeo driver pull a drunk, semi-naked woman from the car and drop her on the pavement.

Members of the public were so concerned they called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital.

Jordan’s semen was found on an intimate swab taken from the woman, who the prosecution said had been unable to sit up or speak, other than to mumble, when found at the side of the road.

The Crown Prosecution Service will return to the same court on Wednesday after considering its position on seeking a retrial.

Judge Rupert Overbury said the jury had performed a valuable public service and should not be disappointed by being unable to reach a majority verdict.